Monday, August 27, 2007

urban farming

Agriculture in Middle Eastern cities: Commonalities and contrasts, by Joe Nasr and Paul Kaldjian


Leila said...

It's not my field at all, but I do have a question - doesn't this sort of activity relate to what the "permaculture" people are trying to do in urban areas?

I live in Oakland, CA, a very urban city in a semi-arid, Mediterranean climate (7 months dry season). The local two-year college has a very successful permaculture course of study in its horticulture department, and this seems to be fueling (spurring?) all manner of local gardens and initiatives.

Example: Just last week at a farmers' market I saw a man with a wheeled hand cart displaying a selection of heirloom seeds he was offering to swap. I wanted to get the favas but I was escorting an ill friend who needed to leave. Anyway - a hand-powered seed swap initiative started by some bearded guy in Oakland. I hope I find him again... The seeds are intended for use by Oaklanders in our urban gardens.

My own house lot is about a sixth of an acre or 674 sq. meters (Google is my friend - type in 1/6 acre in square meters, hit enter, returns the answer)
Our house foot print with concrete driveway, patio, wood decks etc. must take up a quarter of that at least. That leaves room to grow fruit trees (we have four or five) vegetables, flowers and herbs. I have a healthy supply of rosemary, lavender, oregano, and native mint (Yerba Buena) that grew as a volunteer. Some poeple in our area with similar lots keep chickens in cages, rabbits, and grow vegetables.

I am not much of a gardener so I want to start with favas and winter greens.

Leila said...

I love the internet. Quick search returns that a Lebanese dunum = 1,000 sq. meters. So my property is two thirds of a dunum and reducing the house and patio footprint makes it about half a dunum of arable soil.

Somehow this makes it seem more like a real piece of land, knowing that it's two thirds of a dunum. (sounds much more impressive than 1/6 an acre)

Rami Zurayk said...

Urban agriculture is central to permaculture Leila, you're right